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Art and Ocean

Art and Ocean

He is an Australian-born artist whose name literally speaks a lot about his work and life. Radha Pederson’s first name is of Vaishnava Hindu tradition, a tradition that acknowledges the self as spirit, not mater; eternal, not temporary. His surname is Dutch, but his actual bloodline is Norwegian. Both Netherlands and Norway are steeped in seafaring heritage.

Combined, you have Radha Pedersen, the artist, the sailor and the Vaishnava Hindu who describes his current work as “using the narrative setting of life on the ocean to discuss our inherent, spiritual need for freedom, and where that fits in our relationship with the world”.

Growing up on acreage in the Tweed Hinterland, Radha’s parents instilled within him an appreciation of nature and respect for all living creatures. Living so close to the beaches of the Gold Coast and the wonderful water playground of Moreton Bay, the ocean also became an intrinsic part of his life. “Surfing with my brothers and sailing with my grandparents were two things in my childhood that really put the salt in my veins, as you could say.”

As he began to create art, this relationship with nature shone through. But it did not stop with his art. In 2008, he and his wife-to-be, Pam, bought a Hartley 16 for their honeymoon, which they sailed around Moreton Bay for six years. They upgraded to an S&S Defiance 30, to live and cruise on. “In 2015, we took off for eight months and sailed up to the Whitsundays and back, taking our time and soaking it all in, which was really something special to do.”

It was on this cruise that Radha began to concentrate on the ocean as his creative setting. “I love being on the ocean surrounded by nature and simplicity, away from the craziness of modern life. It helps me to step back, remember who I am, who others are, and reflect on life. I think this stepping back is something most, if not all boaties have in common.” This is the freedom and relationship that Radha’s work explores.

Having received a Regional Arts Development Fund grant, Radha will be creating a new body of work – a collection of limited edition silver sculptures inspired the Japanese art form of Netsuke. This new collection, titled A Drop in The Ocean, will be premiering at the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, where Radha will also be demonstrating his wood carving skills.


By Pam Pederson